I have a story about myself, based on my past, that I’d like to change. The story is that I can’t make new friends because people will find out that I’m annoying and unworthy and end up not wanting to be my friend anymore.
When I was younger, my mom was either excited and proud of me or annoyed by me and distracted by my other siblings. By annoyed I mean, not as impressed and more irritable with me and by distracted I mean stressed out trying to meet all the needs of my siblings because they were younger than me and needed more support. I made this mean I was unworthy and annoying. I attended a church where I looked up to the older girls in my youth group and anytime they appeared to laugh at me or give me looks that made me think they were judging me, I internalized that to mean I was unworthy and annoying. My mom pushed me to be “popular”, but I always felt like big groups of people would find out how unworthy I was and how annoying and would eventually reject me. In Jr. High, I started hanging out with the “popular” kids and a group of girls I had hung out with in elementary school got upset with me over this and started doing things like placing me in the trash can at lunch, pouring sodas on me, writing love letters to random boys to embarrass me, etc. I left the popular group to please those girls and it didn’t work. Then I felt like I couldn’t go back to the popular group because they might be upset with me. All this silly misunderstanding made me form deep thoughts about myself being unworthy and annoying. In High School, we moved and I switched school districts. I had to make new friends all over again. I made the cheer team, but I distanced myself from getting too close to the girls. I was close to some of them at practice, but I refused to hang out with them on campus for fear the more they knew me the more they would reject me. I had small random groups of friends that would eventually make up rumors about me that I felt others believed and I decided I just wasn’t good at having friends. I would randomly get spurts of confidence, like my 16th birthday party when I invited a bunch of cheerleaders and football players for a limo ride to a high school dance club and they all came, but then I would make up reasons why they did afterwards, and still judge my ability to have close friends and withdraw from them at school again. By the time I got to Jr. College, I threw all my beliefs out the window and made really close friends with people I had cheered with in high school. A new setting with the same people felt safe somehow I guess. When I left town for college, I made a small group of close friends, but distanced myself once I moved back home, for fear of being rejected- AGAIN!!! Being back in my small town, I run into people often that I used to know or see at parties and I will get anxiety thinking that they rejected me when really, those were just fears I had when I was younger. I get extreme anxiety going into a setting where I think people might be there that I feared rejection from. These are such silly fears because I am really confident at work, I am successful, and I feel unstoppable in my abilities to reach my dreams. I just have this one thing that really gets me down socially. I won’t even post on social media for fear people will find me annoying and unfollow me. When I used to post and I didn’t get as many likes as someone else, I made that mean I was forgettable, uninteresting, and annoying to people. I guess my problem is that I reject myself so much, I don’t let others get to know me and I assume they just won’t like me if I let them. I also assume everyone from my past rejected me that I didn’t have the confidence to connect with and therefore, I fear their presence.